Saturday, December 29, 2007


In case you're interested, switching diaper brands has made all the difference! Huggies are my new fav, but Luvs aren't bad either:)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

2x4 (warning, long post)

As in the piece of wood that is 2" by 4" and that sometimes I feel I should be hit over the head with. It's been a long while since I've last posted. Not that I haven't wanted to, but the whole freetime thing just hasn't been there for me. Now that Christmas is fast approaching, I feel like everything is go, go, go. Parties, shopping, baking, Christmas cards just to name a few. Add to that starting back to work (not full time yet), managing a family of 5, 2 dogs that sometimes create more work than the 3 kids, keeping the house clean, trying to help my mom deal with a difficult situation with my grandmother in the nursing home...whew! I'm not writing all these things to complain or seek pity because I know there are people out there who do 10x more and are 10x more effective than I am. It's just that I have had the distinct feeling that God is probably wanting to hit me over the head with a 2x4 because I miss the whole point. He's been sending me subtle and not so subtle messages regarding the true point.
The first nudge came about 2 weeks ago at our small group Bible study. We watched a short video about a woman who was in a dark time of her life one Christmas. One of the turning points for her came when a total stranger bought her a cup of hot chocolate as she sat alone in a hotel restaurant. I was reminded of how I so often get stressed about finding the perfect gift, having beautifully wrapped gifts and attending all the Christmas parties. But that's not what Christmas is all about. It's about small blessings received from God and passed forward to those around us. It's about slowing down enough to appreciate those small things and seeing those who need to receive God's love. It's about family.
The second hit came this week when I received the following e-mail from a friend's blog. I know it's long, but it's really good.

The view from the soapbox

This is something I've written about before, and probably will again, because it's a subject I feel passionately about. Right off the bat I need to state for the record that I am not pointing a finger at anyone specifically. Unless that person would be me, myself. (And I.)
Lily (her 3 year old granddaughter) called the other night to talk to Auntie Susannah about her elf, Pippi. After they had chatted for a while Lily asked to talk to me. Here's the part where I did a wrong bad thing--I told Susannah I couldn't talk to Lily right then because I was busy, and to go ask Pop. What was I thinking? What in the world could I have been doing that was more important than talking to my precious granddaughter? Making supper? Bustling about with some pseudo-vital task? How could I have had such skewed priorities? It would seem that in all my years of mothering I have failed to learn this one crucial lesson -- not to be bothered by the interruptions to my work because the interruptions ARE my work. How many sweet and tender moments did I miss with my kids because I was doing something I deemed too "important" to stop? "Not now..." "I'm busy..." "Go ask Daddy...." "Do it yourself...." This all falls into the general category of "BEING TOO BUSY". There's an epidemic of busy-ness, and it really bugs me. I've heard it said that you can define BUSY as Being Under Satan's Yoke. How many times do you hear (or say) "I can't because I'm too busy." ?? I firmly believe that God enables each person to accomplish the things He has given her to do each day. There is always enough time to obey according to His guidelines: God, spouse, children, others (in that order). People before things. Eternal before temporal. We all choose every single day to make the time to do the things that are the most important to us. I didn't make the time to vacuum before Bible study this morning. But I did somehow "find" time (oh look! time! how handy to have found it!) to sit at my computer and read my e-mail and two or seven blogs. So was I too busy to vacuum? Um..not hardly.And if I had chosen to set my alarm an hour earlier, instead of choosing to spend that time sleeping, I could have done both. I'm here to admit that sleeping in the mornings is rather high on my priority list. hmmm....what does that say about my character?I am not too busy to exercise. I am not too busy to take a class. I am not too busy to volunteer in my daughter's school. I have the same number of hours as anyone else. I don't run every day because it is not what I have determined to be the most important thing to me at that time. Is that screwed up priorities? Possibly. Am I a victim of some cosmic lack of available time? No way.We moms all have extra demands on us this time of year. Suddenly our work load has increased exponentially, with no reduction in the daily duties. But none of us is "too busy". It's all about choices. We each and every one of us will do what we determine to do with our time.I freely confess that I do not always make right choices. Could we just be honest with each other, though, and ban the phrase "I'm too busy" from our collective vocabularies?
Like Phoebe said in that one Friends episode, "Gee, I wish I could, but I don't wanna."
And Lily? Will you forgive me?

BANG! Across the head.

And then the third hit came just the last couple days. C.J. has been an outstanding little guy, a dream! This past Sunday we were relaxing and he spit up all over me. As he did it, I yelled "Heey!" and startled him so that he choked on the spit and most likely aspirated some of it. He immediately became congested with a wet cough. I thought little of it. The next day he continued to have a stuffy nose and cough, but still acted/ate normally. By Tuesday it looked as though everything was on the mend. Well yesterday he went backwards and was really breathing loudly. Dr. Mom heard wheezing in his lungs so we went to the doctor's at 6pm as this was the only available appointment. By then he was really raspy and laboring to breath. Long story short, they sent us to the hospital for overnight observation, chest x-rays, blood work, etc. to rule out pneumonia. No pneumonia thankfully, and all else, besides the upper respiratory tract, was normal. Brochiolitis either from the aspiration or a secondary virus is the most likely diagnosis.
Enough of the doctor talk (that's my comfort zone). As you sit in the children's ward of the hospital and hear crying kids all around and talk to the staff about how full they are, perspective changes drastically and rapidly. It brings me to my knees with thankfulness that Casey isn't deathly ill or dealing with a life-long illness. God has given us so many blessings! I guess I probably needed a dose of perspective on those blessings. Hence the 2x4.
I pray that you all have a blessed and healthy Christmas. Take time to relish the small blessings that God places in your life just because He loves you. Remember that Jesus came as a tiny baby, not a splendid king because He loves us. Pass on these small acts of love. Make the right choices rather than being caught in the "too busy" trap. Keep things in perspective of what is truly important - God, spouse, family, friends. These are the things I'm going to work on. Please keep me accountable.

Friday, November 30, 2007


The title is not in reference to the TV show. No, it is a reference to the longest period of time Casey has gone without some sort of diaper leakage. This feels like a mini-accomplishment, but looking long-term we have some major issues to correct. Having two female babies before, I was accustomed to the occasional blow-out. The male anatomy lends a whole new challenge. Why does he keep leaking even though the diaper isn't full? Unit positioning is key I think, but even when I am conscientious about it, we still have an occasional accident. I guess it's just another way the male gender gets its kicks at the female race - as babies they create massive amounts of laundry, as men they laugh at us because we can't conveniently pee in the woods or along the highway!
Quote of the day from Rylee: "Mom, come and wipe me. I went poop and I've been waiting six years for you to come wipe me!"

Monday, November 26, 2007


Gabby's 6th B-day
Proud Grammy Bennecke
Aunt Cindy with C.J.

Cousin Jordan and C.J. at Thanksgiving
Gigi and Aunt Marilyn with C.J. Gigi and Gabby
Poppy's first time holding C.J. - only took 2 weeks
Future bowling star?

Wow, I feel like I'm going through withdrawl. I haven't posted in over a week! I've enjoyed catching up on all of you fellow bloggers, though. I don't even have the excuse of hosting or traveling, so I'll use Casey for this one. Actually, I can't legitimately use him because he's such a good boy.

So the hunt was not successful for Steve or my dad. Bambi and family made it! They had a good time waking up at 3am and getting back out of the woods at 5pm. Sounds like a blast!

Thanksgiving was nice but hectic. My grandma (aka Gigi for my kids) got back from California last Monday. She's definately 92 and showing it now. Anyways, on Wednesday she decided to get out of bed herself - she can't walk, get up, or basically do anything on her own - and subsequently fell. This resulted later that morning in a seizure which my aunt thought she was dying, so I got the call to rush to grandma's to say goodbye. Thankfully they stabilized her and after an afternoon in emergency she's as ok as she can be.

So Thanksgiving was celebrated at my parents'. My cousins came in from Virginia for the weekend and to see grandma which was really great since we don't see them often. Food was great - it always is when mom is cooking. Didn't eat too much since I was trying to balance 3 kids now. But that's not a bad thing since I didn't get the tryptophan overload and didn't need a nap. After spending a day with my grandmother, I am resolved to the fact that she does need to go into the nursing home. It's a hard decision for everyone because we all thought she would always be who she always was, but she really does need someone to watch her 24/7. It's like being around Rylee basically. They say you revert back to childhood and it's true. So I'm very thankful for time spent with family and for all the great memories throughout the years. God has blessed our family in so many ways that it's easy to take it for granted. Sometimes I need a little perspective.

Friday was Gabby's 6th birthday! I cannot believe it that six years ago she was just a little peanut like Casey. It goes by too fast as I'm sure you newer moms that read this are starting to realize. Sometimes it makes me happy to see her growing up, other times I'm sad because it's gone and we'll never get the time back again. We had a fun day together and then ended it with bowling with cousins and Nana.

Saturday Steve's mom and brother and sister-in-law came in from Chicago to meet Casey. It was great to see them and Casey was behaving pretty well for his first visit with Grammy.

Sunday was recovery day:)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Deer Widow

This is a term you urbanites may not be familiar with, but a deer widow is someone who is basically abandoned as of opening day (Michigan this is November 15th) when the great hunters flock to the woods in search of Bambie's parents. Steve is one of these, therefore I have joined the ranks of deer widows. Unfortunately, two of my children have been born surrounding this all important season - Casey Nov. 12, and Gabby Nov. 23 - bad planning, but oh yeah, we don't plan in this family.
So we've been home since Tuesday night. Things are actually going well enough that Steve mentioned the number four, which was previously forbidden. Granted, he promptly left on Thursday morning (15th). He got his first opening day deer - a doe. For you urbanites, this is Bambie's mom. Before you shed a bunch of tears, here in Michigan this is majorly applauded since we have over 40,000 car-deer accidents each year. Steve and dad are now in Southern Illinois in search of "Big Bucks." They'll be home Monday at the latest, hopefully sooner.
My mom has been amazingly helpful. She's spent a couple nights here and has been giving me some time off from the girls, which I have needed to avoid blowing up at a certain middle child. Both girls are very loving towards C.J., but in true Rylee form, she doesn't know when enough is enough and she's also on attention underload. C.J. has been great so far. He's slept most of his life away, but I don't mind as this lets me get stuff done during the day and sleep at night (yesterday like 5 hours in one stretch). They say boys are easier, and so far I can't complain. Here's a couple pictures of him doing what he does best. He's so cute it's hard to not just cuddle him all day long - he loves to snuggle.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Welcome Casey

So if you're reading this, you probably got my e-mail announcing the birth of Casey Jared Bennecke, born Monday, November 12, 2007 at 3:45 pm, 9lb 4oz, 21 inches long . Here's a few more details for those of you who are interested, and some pictures because I know that's the main reason to be checking this post anyways:) For some crazy reason the blogger is not letting me upload photos, so I had to put them in a smilebox format, sorry.

I was talking to a friend today and he said that we did this in true "Bennecke-style" - by the seat of our pants. We always like a little drama. So Monday continued to be a pretty quiet day, not much happening. Then about 2:20 my water broke, so I called Steve to tell him to start on his ~40 minute trip home. No contractions yet. About 2:30 I called Steve to check his progress - Wayland - which is about 20 minutes, and let him know I was having some pretty good contractions by then. We hung up again. 2:35 - the next conversation with dear hubby "Where are you now? Shelbyville? Well, don't slow down. Actually don't hang up with me because I need to concentrate." Contractions were about 3 minutes and pretty intense. I did eventually hang up again to call our favorite Kalamazoo Sheriff and check if there were any po-pos between our house and the hospital that he could clear out for us. We got the all clear. Steve finally arrived at 3:00. Between cursing the manual transmission in the Honda and the horribly slow woman on Sprinkle, contractions were strong enough I knew I better cross my legs. Steve is having visions of delivering this baby in the car - which might be the end of our marraige! I counted the lights as I counted the contractions coming about 2 minutes apart and very intense. 3:20 - We made it, Steve does not need to deliver! I got up to the labor and delivery floor and informed them this baby is coming very fast, so I bypassed the whole check-in process. Got to the room - finally - nurse takes one look, "10cm and ready to deliver, get me some gloves, the doctor is still downstairs finishing a C-section." Steve finally figured out how to make it to the proper room after wandering around the parking garage, I think he was in relieved shock. 3:40 the doctor did actually make it up to the room to deliver a healthy baby boy!! TaDa!!
So needless to say, if for some reason we do end up having another child, I think Steve will be renting me a room at the hospital to avoid this kind of stress.
We are all doing well. We actually came home last night, so only a short hospital stay which was nice. Now reality gets to set in. Thanks be to God for a healthy, beautiful son.

Welcome Casey
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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Be Still

No, the baby still is not here. After trying basically every natural means of labor induction possible and being seriously tempted to reach into the little black box in the back of my truck, God spoke. I'm not one to say "God told me this or that," but this was one of those still, small voices that whispered at 4 a.m.
"Be still and know that I am God."
Yes, it was 4 a.m. and I was awake because the night before I'd actually had pretty regular contractions that then just went away (second time this has happened). My back was killing me, and I was thinking to myself "what else can I do to make this happen." I was worrying because Steve is scheduled to go on a 4 day hunt to Illinois this week Thursday and I don't want to ruin this plan he's had for over a year, but I also don't want to do labor or new baby by myself. What could I do?
"Be still and know that I am God."
Unmistakable. This is not the kind of message that sits kindly on my ears for two reasons. First, being still. I had just walked a mile on the treadmill at 11:00pm trying to keep things moving. The day before I'd worked for an hour in the garden. I've been baking up a storm. Being still is not on the recipe for getting this baby out. Second problem is knowing that I'm not God. I can't think of too many days in my life where I haven't known who the God of the Universe is, but still try to be the god of my own life. Control, control, control, even in chaos I'm in control.
I think I have a couple hard lessons to learn, and I'm sure they won't be learned in a day. But the peace that I have now is amazing and all-encompassing. God is in control and I just need to sit back and watch the show.
"Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire. Be stiil and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress." Psalms 46:8-11

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Failure to Launch

So the herbal induction remedies were unsuccessful. Maybe partially a result of my only following through with them for 36 hours, but they were too nasty and I felt no different. Still feel no different on this my "due date".
You never know, though.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween and Cohosh

First Halloween, then I'll explain.

So Ry had her preschool party on Monday - as you can see, no pictures of that because negligent mommy had to work and got the time mixed up for when their parade took place:(
Gabby had her events on Halloween. She tried and tried to convince me that she didn't need to go to school, but meanie mommy made her go. I went with her for moral support since this is her least favorite day of life. She did pretty well actually. Their elementary school does a little parade through the middle school which is next door. So there are all these "big kids" in disturbing costumes reaching out to give high fives to the freaked out little kindergardeners. A few times I thought she'd actually climb up my leg, but she kept her eyes forward and kept walking. The rest of the party went well and she got gobs of goodies enough to make life ok again.

We went to Uncle Mav and Aunt Steph's house for trick-or-treating since we have no neighborhood and they have a very nice one. Rylee and their almost 2yr old son went to about 10 houses before Rylee decided it was time to be done. I'll have to admit I was a little disappointed because she only brought back a limited quantity of candy for me to pilage later. Actually, I'm not sure why we even bother to "do" this holiday as Gabby hates it and Ry is only moderately interested in anything that doesn't involve her sister. I guess it makes for a few cute pictures and a good excuse to eat more candy (as if I haven't been stuffing my face enough).
So as for the cohosh... I'll assume most of you have no clue what it is since I didn't either before 2 days ago. Let me explain... I went to the doctor Wednesday, no news except that he is working the labor and delivery floor Friday PM/Saturday AM. So I have a new goal to strive for - deliver during those 12-24 hours that he's working. He's delivered both of my girls and I guess it's stupid and sentimental, but I really want him to deliver the third. That's where the cohosh comes in. This is some homeopathic remedy - black and blue cohosh - in addition to evening primrose, that I am trying to use to pep start the ole engine. So far it tastes horrible and has done little. I was optomistic, but it's dwindling. I think I'll go for a long walk or a horseback ride!

We'll let you know if it works.
Gabby and her best friend Isabelle at the parade

Rylee prior to trick-or-treating

Rylee and Jacob the duck

We went for a great afternoon walk on the new property last weekend. I hadn't been out there since the leaves have changed and fallen since all the great white hunters have been out in their trees trying to kill Bambi's mom and dad. Our fall weather here has been fabulous and this afternoon/evening was perfect.As you can see, my children are not shy of the camera:)

This is the view from the area will may put the house. It currently overlooks a 15-20 acre corn field, but I'd imagine we'll have it planted to hay and in a couple years you'll see horses out there.More from inside the corn and beautiful Michigan fall colors.We went walking through the corn, which is no small task for a 3 1/2 foot tall person - the corn is about 10-12 feet high surrounding you and you just walk on the trampled stalks. Our goal was to get across the field to where one of the great white hunters had made the first kill. My brother Jason got a small doe with his bow. Rylee wanted to play in the carcass of course, Gabby stayed several feet back to be sure she didn't get any blood on her.

Not much need to explain. Just an awesome reminder of God's amazing beauty.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Pictures for Gigi

These pictures are for Gigi - which is the name my girls call my grandma Eileen, short for great grandma. She has been in California since August recovering from a broken hip which is no easy task for a 92 year old. I had tried to send these pics via email, but it failed. I think, no, I know my 6year old daughter could probably have figured it out. It's amazing to see her maneuver around the computer and internet. So here are the pictures for you grams and everyone else to enjoy!

Gabby with my cousin Jordan at his birthday partyThe twins
Rylee and Gigi at the party
Gabby and Rylee with former babysitter Jennifer. Gabby was the flowergirl at her wedding
After about 100 pictures, Gabby was about done with the whole wedding thing.
Rylee's preschool trip to the local apple orchard. This is Gabby with our neighbor Clara.
Yes, she is a ham!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


After seeing a couple friends with really cool blogs about their families and lives, I figured maybe this would be a better way to keep informed since I'm not too good about calling. I'm not tech savy, but I can learn I guess.
My current life:
1. Married happily (most days) for 7 + years to Steve
2. Live in Plainwell, MI which is actually only about 10 minutes from where I grew up. Yes, I know I swore I'd never return, but we've actually been here 6 years and I'm getting used to it. It is great to be close to family and there's no way I could handle being in Chicago. We live on a 10 acre horse ranch currently, but it's for sale because we just bought 67 acres a couple miles from here and plan to build.
3. Currently 2 kids: Gabby - almost 6 and in kindergarten. Rylee - 4 and in preschool. You'll hear more about them as this blog progresses I'm sure. It's amazing how two kids can come from the same two parents (yes, I'm sure they both were:) and be so different, but great! Third kid on the way - supposed to be a boy, but Steve's not convinced until he sees the package. Due Nov. 4th.
4. Still working as a large animal vet. About 80% dairy cattle and 20% horses. Usually I try to only work 4 days a week, but this backfires pretty frequently! I do love my job, though and can't imagine doing anything else.
5. Due to items 1-4, I have little time for anything else constructive:)